Tesla has named Robyn Denholm as its new chairperson. Denholm is the finance chief and head of strategy at Telstra, an Australian telecoms company. He is also an existing board member of Tesla. His appointment comes after Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of Tesla, was forced to step down from his role as the chairman of the company as part of a settlement deal with the securities watchdog of the United States of America.
Denholm will be leaving her position at Telstra within a period of six months to sit at the helm of Tesla on a full-time basis.
As Musk continues to serve as the chief executive of the electric car manufacturer and a sitting board member, Tesla said that he plans to “be a resource to Robyn” and provide her with some advice and support in her new position.
The news of the said appointment comes two days after the deadline for Musk to step down as the chair of the company had passed after Tesla was given 45 days to look for his replacement.
In late September, both Musk and Tesla were imposed with a fine amounting to $20 million (£15.3 million) by the US Securities and Exchange Commission following the tweets of Musk regarding his plans to take the firm private at $420 per share with “funding secured.”
It later was later revealed that he had not secured any funding, nor had he sufficiently informed the board of Tesla or the relevant authorities for such a deal.
Musk will not be permitted to return to his position as the chairman of Tesla for a period of three years.
In a statement, Denholm stated: “I believe in this company, I believe in its mission and I look forward to helping Elon and the Tesla team achieve sustainable profitability and drive long-term shareholder value.”
Musk cited the time of Robyn as a board member of Tesla as helping the company to become profitable in its most recent quarter, as well as her time in the tech and auto industries as a preparation for her new role.
It remains to be observed whether Tesla can once again achieve profitability, with some analysts and investors casting doubt on the future of the company.
Earlier this week, David Einhorn, a prominent short-seller of Tesla who runs Greenhorn Capital, a US hedge fund, said that he believes that the last three months were “as good as it gets” for the carmaker.
In an earnings call, he disclosed: “While Tesla expects to make 65,000 Model 3s in the fourth quarter, we believe they have exhausted most of the demand from customers who can afford the highest price versions of the Model 3.”
He also emphasised the recent legal and production woes of Tesla. He added: “Tesla is contending with a litany of competitive, regulatory, human resources, vehicle quality and capital structure issues.”